MILL CREEK VALLEY, A SOUL OF SAINT LOUIS
Life and death of a great urban neighborhoodby Ron Fagerstrom
" Mill Creek Valley, a Soul of Saint Louis,
a book by Ron Fagerstrom describes life in a former inner city neighborhood
and its death in 1959 at the hand of urban renewal.
Why do most St. Louisans feel so remote from our inner city areas,
as if these areas have nothing to do with their own lives?
People are often upset with American lifestyle today;
eg. crime, people being in such a hurry, not knowing your neighbors.
Are there lessons to be learned from the past?
Why has St. Louis City been experiencing so many problems?
Why has the St. Louis area suffered from so much racial division?
As St. Louis rebuilds itself, what models can it look to for creating
Mill Creek Valley, A Soul of Saint Louis considers these
and other questions as it takes an in depth look at one neinghborhood of
St. Louis that was bulldozed starting in 1959.
" Jefferson Ave. looking North from Chestnut St. on
right (East) and Lawton Blvd. on the left (West).
(Ateaga Photo, 1950)
This entire neighborhood, home to 20,000 persons (95% black), over
800 businesses, churchs and other institutions, and center of St. Louis’s black
community, was erased forever from our civic life. Through research and
interviews with former residents of Mill Creek Valley, Ron describes life
as it was for those who lived there.
" ...... " Glen Atkinson Anna Wigley
He shows how our civic leaders did not properly and adequately study
the “problems” of urban decline in this area and that, by clearing it,
they set in motion the spread of decline outward through the city and into the
county. He illustrates that when they looked at Mill Creek Valley and saw
a “slum” they missed seeing its many assets, the wonderful place and home
that it was for its residents and the special functions it served for St. Louis’s
" " South Side of Market St. between Jefferson Ave.
and Beaumont St. (also called Short Market)
(Photo courtesy of Robert Riley)
3401 Walnut St.
(Swekosky Photo Collection,
School Sisters of Notre Dame)
Mill Creek Valley, A Soul of Saint Louis serves
as a resource on how cities and neighborhoods function, a guide to making decisions
to effect affirming change for residents and businesses alike.
Ron has been an urban planner, a community and social worker and is
a commercial real estate broker (in an innactive status) with Friedman Group, Ltd.
focusing on the central corridor and the city of St. Louis.
Copies of Mill Creek Valley, A Soul of Saint Louis are available
for purchase at Left Bank Books and at Missouri Historical Society bookstore
on Lindell at DeBaliviere.
You may also send a check in the amount of $16.50
($15.00 for the book + $1.50 postage and handling),
1912 Hickory Street,
St. Louis, MO 63104
You may email Ron Fagerstrom at: Fagerstrom3@aol.com